The medical encyclopedia is the most used book in our house. The covers are torn, the pages coming loose.
He uses it as a catalogue for all the illnesses he can choose from, should the mood take him.
Dengue is not in the index. Too foreign. Too obscure.
It's not dengue, he says about the fever, the aching joints, the pain behind the eyes. It's appendicitis/ temporal athritis/ mumps / chicken pox / food poisoning. He thumbs through the pages, weighing, deciding.
Dengue, I insist. I've had it twice before. I know how it goes. Don't argue.
Not dengue. Why do you always want to be right? Why didn't you become a doctor if you wanted to play medical detectives?
His blood platelet level is dangerously low but the private clinic doesn't bother to give him the result until he calls up at 10p.m.
We dash to the hospital where he's admitted at once, and hooked up to a drip.
He feels a little better this morning. Well enough to start creating trouble for the nurses. His fever's down and his platelet level up a shade.
Told you it was dengue, I say, a little smug.
You didn't say that at all. Or I would have come to hospital straight away.